The BDC will integrate modern genetics with green chemistry and processing techniques to create renewable chemicals and materials, and will support industry in developing manufacturing technologies that use plants, microbes and bio-wastes as the raw materials for high value products.
Business Secretary Vince Cable, who opened the BDC said: "This new centre will strengthen the UK's position as a leader in the exploitation of high-value chemicals from renewable sources.”
“It will also help UK companies to access and capitalize on the global growth potential from these new technologies and products."
The open-access facilities provide companies and academia with a way to test, develop and scale up biorefining processes and can also use molecular breeding to rapidly improve plants and microbes as raw materials for these processes, creating the potential to source high value chemicals from plants by developing novel crops or improving those already in use.
Expansion of the Centre has been supported with £2.5 million (€3.2m) from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
"This investment by BIS is a reflection of the facility's national significance and unique capability," explains the center's director Dr Joe Ross. "The Bio-renewables Development Centre will greatly expand the opportunities for industry to source its raw materials from plants and microbes."
"Our aim in establishing the BDC is to help make the UK a world leader in the production of high value chemicals from plants and microbes by combining academic excellence from the University of York with industry capability," adds Professor Ian Graham, chair of the BDC board.
Professor Brian Cantor, vice-chancellor of the University of York also explains that the BDC illustrates how research undertaken at the University can help to generate new and sustainable products, processes, jobs and businesses.
The new facility will also help regional businesses access world-leading research capability and process technology at a scale to accelerate new product discovery and business growth according to Professor Nicola Spence.
"The BDC's location in the Bio Centre will maximize its important linkages with the Green Centre of Excellence and the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, both of which are located next door on the University of York campus," says Tracey Smith, managing director, York Science Park.